More From Scott "Shifty" McClellan
And here's more from White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan at yesterday's press briefing... This time, he's unable to answer questions about the CIA leak case because – you guessed it! – it's all part of an "ongoing investigation." (Talking points bolded by me.)
Q: Scott, a question about the leak investigation. The President has said in the months past that he would dismiss anyone who was responsible for leaking classified information. He was pretty clear-cut on that point. What would he do, though, if there were other charges -- charges like perjury or obstruction of justice? Would any member of the White House staff who is accused of such charges be expected to resign immediately, or would they be summarily fired by the President?Good heavens, what a slippery little fellow. How does McClellan even sit in a chair without sliding off?
McClellan: I'm not going to speculate about an ongoing investigation at this point. I don't want to pre-judge the outcome of it. The President has spoken to it previously. The investigation continues and --
Q: Right, but can't you -- since he has spoken to it previously, which is why I knew you wouldn't comment about the investigation -- but he has spoken to that point rather clearly. And, yet, he's raised some questions about what he might do in other --
[Yellow Dog comment: Note that the reporter isn't actually asking Weasel Boy to comment on the investigation itself, but on Bush's response if the probe turns up indictments.]
McClellan: No, it's an ongoing investigation at this point, and I don't want to comment on it any further. You heard from the President earlier today, indicate that as well. And to get into commenting on it --
Q: So you won't clarify for the American people as a matter of policy whether a White House advisor who faces criminal charges should be immediately --
McClellan: Well, I think the President has stated his views, but I'm not going to speculate beyond that, because the investigation continues. Let's let that investigation continue; it is a serious matter. The President wants to get to the bottom of it, and we support the work of the special prosecutor and I expect he'll have more to say on it soon -- as you all expect, as well.
Q: How does the President feel about some White House allies, including Senator Hutchison yesterday, essentially making the argument that should the special counsel bring charges that involve a cover-up -- obstruction of justice or perjury -- that those are, in effect, technicalities and aren't really worthy of all the effort and money spent on this investigation?
McClellan: I appreciate that, but asking me to comment would be speculating about an ongoing investigation -- I'm just not going to do that. Let's let --
Q: Well, wait a minute --
McClellan: Well, no, the President was asked this question --
Q: That's kind of a dodge, don't you think?
McClellan: No, the President was asked this question earlier today. What we want to do is continue to support the work of the special prosecutor. The best way to do that is not to get into commenting on it --
Q: There are allies of this White House --
McClellan:-- or speculating about it.
Q: -- who are beginning to go out there and effectively lay the groundwork to trash the special counsel. Does the President want to put a stop to that?
McClellan: Let's let the investigation continue and we'll see what the special prosecutor does.
Q: He doesn't want to take an advantage of an opportunity to either say, you know what, we shouldn't speak that way, or, no, I endorse those views?
McClellan: The President made it clear that we're not going to have any further comment from the White House while the investigation continues.
Q: But you'll let surrogates do it?
McClellan: No, I didn't say that. You said that.